This morning’s thoughts come simply from where The Mom is at in her regular Bible-reading: the Gospel of John. At the mid-week children’s ministry that she is involved in, they’ve taken the suggestion of Focus on the Family, to memorize a different (easy) Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. Last week’s verse was for the letter ‘i’: “I am the Bread of Life”, from the 6th chapter of John, where that seems to be a main theme for the chapter. This is where Jesus talks about eating His body and drinking His blood, and many disciples leave Him because of it; and He asks the 12 “will you also leave?”
It’s easy to see how that would be a difficult concept to accept, especially without the understanding that came after Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, nowadays it’s something else about His death that people have trouble accepting. Think about it: how easy is it for you to admit you’re wrong, in everyday situations? Even harder to imagine that someone had to actually pay for your wrong with such suffering!
When we come face to face with our waywardness, we would much rather pay for it ourselves. The Mom has felt it–so mad at herself that she feels the need to inflict punishment on herself. The punishment has already been dealt out, yet “religion” in the past has provided for people wanting to do it themselves, by a long list of things to do–“penance”. The active part of the Christian faith, is NOT to be done for that purpose (to “pay for sins”), but as an expression of gratefulness, worship.
The Bible does talk about entering into Christ’s suffering, but that has more to do with being willing to make sacrifices where they’re called for, learning to wait for His leading, etc. We heard a speaker say once, as the communion bread was broken and distributed, that even as He was broken for us–that we also are bread to the world. Even as Jesus said “I am the Light of the World”, He also said “YOU are the light of the world.”
“Be with me, Lord, every moment and in every place so that I may recognize and respond to your call to go to the broken, the lonely and the needy. Amen.”